Google announced what everyone expected with the addition of video advertisements to YouTube appropriately called InVideo ads earlier this week. The blogosphere has mixed results about the new feature; publishers are eager to make money off of their video offerings and users want a clean, uninterrupted experience.
Fortunately YouTube has decided against pre or post-roll ads citing evidence that viewers just don’t respond. Instead, as the name implies, the ads pop up in-video and only take up the bottom 20% of the player screen. Clicking on the ad will pause the video and open another mini video player inside the one you are watching. Ad metrics are based on the percentage of the ad you get through and if you should leave within the first 15 seconds that doesn’t count as an impression.
Many think video ads will be another big business for Google but video ads are a far different beast compared to text ads. For one, InVideo ads are only shown on the content of trusted partners for obvious legal reasons. Unlike text ads that require no screening process, video owners must have all of the legal clearances to engage in commercial activity. This bottleneck greatly reduces the potential pool of advertisers unlike the ubiquity and ease of AdSense.
Second, in order to prevent “saturation” or dampening the user experience, video ads will have to be deliberately limited. Text ad units are splattered across the web on millions of blogs taking advantage of the Long Tail of niche content. While this means higher costs per click and per thousand impressions the amount of ad inventory is inherently limited.
Finally, ads that pop up in the middle of video, even if for a brief 10 seconds, are distracting. Text ads are successful because they blend in with the content; obvious to the reader when they need them and not a distraction when they are uninterested. Watching video is a concentrative task. Anything that intrudes on the message, stealing the users attention, takes them away from the story and lowers the experience. Think about how annoying it is at a public theater when someone is talking next to you or a cell phone goes off. TBS has been running ads like YouTube’s in the middle of shows like Everybody Loves Raymond however Youtube has a leg up by giving the viewer the freedom to close the ad display right away. See an InVideo ad in action.
Ads in the middle of YouTube videos may be all the buzz now but I feel those enthusiastic of the new feature will eventually grow tired of it like the rest of us. YouTube user fardousha sums it up best with the following comment…
If ads invade youtube, i will desert it.
What attracted me in the first place is ads free quality time. Long story short, it ain’t a good idea.
There is already a Firefox extension called TubeStop to stop YouTube ads from even showing up, protecting the users patience as they take in all that YouTube has to offer. There is only a certain amount of aggravation one can take in regards to advertising and InVideo ads certainly cross that threshold. This is why the YouTube ad experiment will ultimately be a failure.